The maker of Fortnite, among others, is launching a lawsuit against Google. He would behave like a monopolist.
Epic Games’ case revolves around the 30 percent commission that Google charges on in-app purchases. In that sense, it is somewhat similar to the series of lawsuits that Epic filed against Apple two years ago. In short: Google gets a 30% commission on everything you buy through the Google App Store. So a third of all revenue goes to the platform, and the developers get the rest.
This applies to apps that you buy, but often also to ‘in-app’ purchases via Android’s payment system, including, for example, a colorful ‘skin’ for your Fortnite character. According to Epic, Google does not leave enough alternatives open to avoid that commission, and thus behaves like a monopolist.
Google obviously does not agree with this, and indicates that you can, for example, ‘side-load’ apps on an Android phone, and therefore download them via a third party. Epic argues that Google makes side-loading extremely complicated. Google also says it does not have a monopoly, as it competes with Apple. It reports that what Epic is asking for could lead to less security on its platform.
As mentioned, the case is strongly reminiscent of a similar case that Epic filed against Apple in 2021. That lawsuit is currently in the appeal phase. A judge previously decided that Apple does not have a monopoly there, but that it must allow alternatives for paying for in-app purchases. In the Netherlands, a judge also previously decided that dating apps there must be able to implement their own payment system, with 30% not automatically going to Apple.
For Google it is now yet another antitrust case. The company is also in court in Washington, where the US Justice Department accuses Google of an illegal monopoly on the search engine market.